Leaked: Team Kasich plans revenge on Mary Taylor for not endorsing Borges

Three weeks ago, before the vote for ORP Chairman, we told you that Lt. Governor Mary Taylor had actually not endorsed Matt Borges, even though she had been listed as one of his endorsers.

Borges ended up losing that vote and the chairmanship. Now, the governor’s staff and close supporters want to take it out on Mary Taylor. WOIO’s Paul Orlousky has obtained a leaked strategy memo which details a plan to ruin Taylor’s possible run for the governorship in 2018.

marytaylor

Its not known who the author is, but he accuses Taylor of “double-crossing Kasich in his most vulnerable moment” and says “she is no friend of John Kasich’s”.

Unfortunately, this episode fits a pattern of bullying from the governor’s office. After sticking up for John Kasich for years and defending him at every turn, she actually chose to make her own decision for once. That’s all that was needed for them to put her on their enemies list.

Team Kasich’s hatred for Secretary of State Jon Husted is also on display in this memo. It appears that their biggest fear is that Husted could be Ohio’s next governor, somehow threatening Kasich’s legacy.

They need to realize that Kasich has already written his legacy. What will people remember him for? Forcing Medicaid expansion on Ohio, declaring that anyone who opposed him was destined for Hell, a failed presidential campaign that he wouldn’t quit, being absent at the GOP Convention being held in his home state and trying to convince a new Republican Congress to keep his precious Medicaid expansion.

Jon Husted told The Plain Dealer’s Henry Gomez that the memo evidenced backroom discussions that are “a very disrespectful way to treat Mary Taylor, the sitting lieutenant governor.”

The most ironic part of the memo states that “they are already using the party as a weapon”. This is from the team who engineered a bully campaign to take over the party shortly after Kasich’s first election, for the sole purpose of turning it into a campaign organization for his secretly planned presidential run.

It will be interesting to see if Governor Kasich follows through on his allies’ recommendations for retribution.

Cordray, Alt, Delete: Didn’t this Ohio Dem Learn From Hillary’s Email Scandal?

It’s no secret that the Democrats’ bench in Ohio is on the light side going into the 2018 election cycle. Beyond Congressman Tim Ryan (a long shot due to his comfortable district) one of the only other big-name Democrats being discussed as a Gubernatorial candidate is Richard Cordray. In 2010 Cordray lost his re-election bid for Ohio Attorney General to Mike DeWine, after which he was appointed Director to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by President Obama. With 2018 fast approaching, its not surprising that Cordray’s name would be on the list: a weak bench in addition to his current tenuous position with a new Presidential Administration makes Cordray an attractive candidate.

How ironic it is that Cordray’s candidacy might end before it even begins due to problems oddly reminiscent of failed Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. The Daily Caller recently uncovered unusual facts about Cordray’s work devices. The usual fact being that, when a Freedom of Information Act request was submitted to the CFPB, no records of text messages for Richard Cordray were found to exist. Partial records were shown but only in communications received by CFPB employees from Cordray’s private number, while any records from Cordray’s number and device itself were not present. In a later communication the CFPB acknowledges that no records exists due to the fact that Cordray used a private device and did not turn over such communication records (as required by law).

Voters in Ohio already dealt with Hillary Clinton, a Democrat candidate who did not follow electronic record and security laws correctly. In a Politico Poll prior to the 2016 election 61% of respondents viewed Clinton’s handling of her email scandal as an important indicator of her character. In a similar situation, how will Ohioans view Cordray’s apparent similar lack of transparency and respect for public record laws?

While the Democrats are scrambling to find one legitimate Governor Candidate, the Republican field is already full. So far rumors hold Secretary of State Jon Husted, Lt Governor Mary Taylor, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Congressman Jim Renacci as exploring runs for the Governorship. Each of these candidates bring strong accomplishments, great name recognition, and fundraising abilities. Is Cordray the answer to stopping any of these candidates from running away with the election and allowing GOP domination of Ohio politics for another 4 years?

hillcordray

After Hillary Clinton’s humiliating defeat in Ohio, Democrats are contemplating running a similarly flawed candidate for Governor. Ohio Democrats: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

 

Yost Entering Attorney General Race With Impressive Amount Of Cash On Hand

Current State Auditor Dave Yost is expected to announce today his run for Attorney General in the 2018 election. The current Attorney General, Mike DeWine, will be unable to run again in 2018 due to Ohio term limits. Sources close to Third Base Politics have reported that Yost has already raised over $1 million for the run, which is a very large amount for an Attorney General race in Ohio.

Yost originally planned to seek the AG position in the 2010 election before instead deciding to run for State Auditor. Prior to his run for State Auditor Yost served as County Auditor for Delaware County from 1999 – 2003 and then as Prosecutor until 2011. In the 2010 election for State Auditor Yost beat out now current Ohio Democratic Chairman David Pepper by a healthy margin and then won re-election in 2014 against Democrat John Patrick Carney by an even larger margin.

During his time as State Auditor Yost’s office has several accomplishments under its belt. Under Yost the Auditor’s office pioneered Share Ohio, a way for public entities in Ohio to share low-use equipment as a way to save money. Yost’s office has also performed over 70 performance audits of state and local entities to the tune of over $150 million saved in tax payer dollars. The office reported a savings of $23 for every dollar spent on performance audits. Beyond this Yost’s office has also found over $17 million in misspent or stolen public funds with each case being turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency with multiple convictions as the result.

Yost has also shown during his time as Auditor a willingness to buck other state officeholders if he believes they are in the wrong. During his first term Yost and Kasich were at odds over Jobs Ohio, with Yost asserting his right to audit the entity and Kasich disagreeing. Yost held that since Jobs Ohio received public funds that it was subject to state audit, while Kasich and the entity disagreeing due to its standing as a partly-private entity.

 

Posted by Dave Yost Attorney General on Monday, January 23, 2017

Yost’s announcement is expected at 11 am today, January 24th.

ORP Balance Sheet Tells A Tale Of Debt And Raises Many Questions

Several members of the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee sent Third Base Politics an email from Treasurer Tracey Winbush. She is seeking to retain her position at Friday’s meeting.

There is one part of Winbush’s email that made it worth reporting, a crudely constructed balance sheet. Numbers aren’t personal. They are just numbers, but these numbers tell a tale. It shows a party that appears to be operating beyond its means and a Chairman who isn’t a prolific fundraiser.

There are several things that stand out in the numbers below. There are more questions than answers here and that is what members of the committee stated when they forwarded the email. Some of these members have been Borges loyalists but are now questioning their support.

Despite mentioning transparency in her email, Winbush didn’t respond to a message left by Third Base Politics.

Ohio Republican Party Balance Sheet

There are some interesting things in this balance sheet that are worth pointing out. The party is over a million dollars in debt.

Bob Bennett passed away over two years ago, but the Ohio Republican Party is blaming $65,000 of debt on the former Chairman’s credit card.

An outstanding loan from Mary and Donzell Taylor eleven years ago still hasn’t been repaid. The party also hasn’t paid for $162k in legal and consulting fees from the 2010 election.

Prior Chairman Kevin DeWine paid off the mortgage, but under Chairman Borges’ leadership, there is almost half a million dollar mortgage and line of credit on the building.

Speaking of the building, the Ohio Republican Party has it valued just shy of $1.6 million. According to the Franklin County Auditor’s website, the building is assessed at $900,000.

The Ohio Republican Party still owes Quicken Loans Arena $165k for the first presidential debate in August 2015. This feels like someone who has a big expensive wedding without considering the financial destruction on the marriage.

The party and the Chairman were openly hostile to the Republican presidential nominee. In a letter to the State Central Committee, Member Dave Johnson exposed Borges’ behavior during the RNC. This likely impacted fundraising. Why would donors open their wallets to a party with a Chairman who is combative towards the nominee?

Borges is operating the party at a million dollars in debt while Jane Timken raised Donald Trump over a million dollars. She could quickly turn the ship around.

Matt Borges is claiming that rumors are being spread about him, but he can’t say that about this. These are simply numbers. Numbers sent out by his Treasurer. Numbers aren’t rumors. They are numbers. And the numbers likely won’t be on Team Borges’ side in Friday’s vote.

 

 

Letter from Republican State Central Committee member calls out Borges for behavior at RNC

Earlier today Third Base Politics broke a story showing 40 Ohio GOP County Chairmen throwing their support behind Jane Timken, a Canton area Republican challenging current Chairman Matt Borges on Friday. When you look at the list of chairmen supporting Timken one thing is clear: not one is from a central Ohio county.

After watching the Ohio campaign activities during the Presidential race this isn’t surprising when you had a State Chair actively working to undermine the Republican nominee. Well, if it wasn’t the Chairman himself it was an underling most likely on his marching orders. Unfortunately for those involved, the target of the nastiness, Bob Paduchik was chosen for a leadership role in the new RNC leadership.

So it should be no surprise that after not just the twitter-stunt but his whole 2016 behavior that local Republican leaders are a bit miffed at Borges. One Chairman, also quoted in the above article, has written his own letter to the state central committee to communicate his displeasure, as well as his intent to be the member to nominate Borges’ replacement for 2017 and beyond.

In a letter passed on to us Columbiana County Chairman David Johnson, whom is also the State Central Committeeman for the 33rd district, expressed his frustrations with the Ohio Republican Party Chairman’s actions in 2016, as well as his intention to nominate Jane Timken to take over as ORP Chair.

republican-state-committee-state-gop-chair-race

This letter shows how out of touch the ORP in Columbus has become: a stalwart supporter of Governor Kasich and the ORP feels that Borges’ actions have left him as a detriment to the continued growth of the Ohio Republican Party and that a change is needed. Chairman Johnson was very clear in his letter:

At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, it was very clear that Donald Trump did not have the support of our State Chairman. This is not hearsay. This is not conjecture. This is first hand, eye-witness account. I spoke with the Matt Borges about this, directly. He knew well how I felt about it. I had hoped he would alter his course.

 

The State Central Committee meets on Friday for a vote.

In Big Blow To Borges, Over 40 County GOP Chairs Endorse Timken

As Friday’s election for Ohio Republican Party Chair quickly approaches, Jane Timken just scored a very impressive endorsement list of over 40 Ohio County GOP Chairs. The Chairmen want a change in leadership at the Ohio Republican Party.

Stark County Chairman Jeff Matthews emailed the announcement to the State Central Committee members whose votes will pick the next Chairman. Many local Ohio Republican leaders have lost confidence in Matt Borges as this list demonstrates.

An Open Letter to the Ohio Republican State Committee

We know that every member of the Republican State Central Committee has been inundated by emails and phone calls regarding the current race for Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. We understand that this is an important decision that no member of the Committee takes lightly. As County Republican Chairmen, however, we are respectfully urging that our input be thoughtfully considered by the Committee in making a final decision on this most important matter.

We not only believe that the views and sentiments of County Republican Chairmen ought to be considered by the Committee on such important matters as the election of a State Chairman, but that the Committee and most certainly the State Chairman ought to be absolutely unwavering in their support of all Republican nominees, at every level.

Clearly, though, this was NOT the case in the instance of our 2016 Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump. Consequently, we are now in jeopardy of having the State Party be completely at odds with the new Trump Administration, as well as with the RNC itself. This is, quite obviously, an untenable if not wholly unacceptable situation which only you, the voting members of the State Committee, have the power to resolve.

It is with all of this in mind that we, the undersigned, are urging you to unite the State Party behind Jane Timken as our next State Republican Chairman. She has impeccable personal qualifications and unquestioned standing among the political, financial and elective leadership of our Party at the state and national level. As a geographically diverse mix of County Republican Chairmen from large, medium and small counties, we respectfully ask for the State Committee’s support of Jane Timken in the secret balloting that will occur on January 6th.

Sincerely yours (in alphabetical order),

Carolyn Adams – Ottawa County GOP Chairman
Audra Bean – Champaign County GOP Chairman
Sandy Barber – Fulton County GOP Chairman
Keith Boales – Ashland County GOP Chairman
Chuck Calvert – Medina County GOP Chairman
Elayne Cross – Portage County GOP Vice Chairman
Paulette Donley – Highland County GOP Executive Committee Chairman Brian Davis – Williams County (Outgoing) GOP Chairman
Rob Duncan – Huron County GOP Chairman
Charlie Frye – Ashtabula County GOP Chairman
Leslie Haas – Washington County GOP Chairman
Robin Hovis – Holmes County GOP Chairman
Steve Hall – Coshocton County GOP Chairman

Jon Hensler – Jackson County GOP Chairman
Helen Hurst – Lorain County GOP Chairman
Tim Inwood – Clinton County GOP Chairman
John Jones – Harrison County GOP Chairman David Johnson – Columbiana County GOP Chairman Steve Kryder – Henry County GOP Chairman Randy Law – Trumbull County GOP Chairman
Tom Liebrecht – Putnam County GOP Chairman Thad Lichtensteiger – Van Wert County GOP Chairman Jeff Matthews – Stark County GOP Chairman Nancy McArthur – Geauga County GOP Chairman Mark Munroe – Mahoning County GOP Chairman John “Bud” O’Brien – Miami County GOP Chairman Dan Osborne – Morrow County GOP Chairman
Patti Rockey – Williams County (Incoming) GOP Chairman Pere Seward – Monroe County GOP Chairman Lowell Shank – Former Henry County GOP Chairman Dean Sipe – Crawford County GOP Chairman Sherman Stansbery – Wyandot GOP Chairman Jason Stephens – Lawrence County GOP Vice Chairman Lynda Smith – Clark County GOP Chairman
Keith Threewits – Darke County GOP Chairman Dave Uible – Clermont County GOP Chairman
Doug Wills – Tuscarawus County GOP Chairman Bryan Williams – Summit County GOP Chairman Wayne York – Auglaize County GOP Chairman
Mike Young – Noble County GOP Chairman
Jerry Zielke – Paulding County GOP Chairman

This is a tough blow to current ORP Chair Matt Borges who only earned a total of four votes in the three county party endorsement meetings. All of those parties endorsed Jane Timken. Borges is also being challenged on his claim that Lt. Governor Mary Taylor endorsed him.

Jane Timken perviously earned the endorsement of Congressman Bob Gibbs. This was a significant blow to Borges who used to work for Gibbs in 2010.

 

Borges Claim Of Mary Taylor’s Endorsement Disputed

Matt Borges released a list of 100 people who endorsed his re-election for Ohio Republican Party Chair, but he might have forgotten one important detail – to actually get the endorsements from the people he included.

There have been grumblings the last few days over people being on the list who never endorsed Borges, but one name stands out among them all – Lt. Governor Mary Taylor.

Taylor lives in southern Summit County, right on the border of Stark County where Timken lives, so this was an important catch for Borges. But someone with knowledge of the process says that the endorsement never was approved by Taylor

Prominent businessman Tony George told Third Base Politics that Taylor never issued an endorsement.

“They put out a list that isn’t accurate. An endorsement letter was put in front of Mary Taylor, She made the decision not to sign the letter.”

While it’s appalling to think Borges would do this to the Lt. Governor, it isn’t a stretch to believe. Kasich’s presidential campaign, which Matt Borges was obviously involved in, put out a list of Ohio endorsers without getting approval from some people who were delegates for other candidates. 

George, who gave his time and his treasure to support John Kasich’s presidential run isn’t pleased with the way the Ohio Republican Party operated during the general election. He believes if Kasich is serious about working with President-elect Trump, he would ask Borges to step aside to dissipate the tension from the combative nature of the Chairman towards our then GOP nominee.

George is supporting Jane Timken to be the Chair of the Ohio Republican Party. Timken also recently received all the endorsements issued by county parties.  It appears that Borges’ House of Cards isn’t as strong as he’d like to present to the media.

It’s time to work with the national party and President-elect. For a fresh start, we need a new Chairman.

Grassroots Signal Support For Timken As She Racks Up County Party Endorsements

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges is boasting that he will retain his grip on the state party, but he is facing a big backlash from grassroots at the county party levels. Despite spending a fortune to stack the State Central Committee with loyalists, Borges is facing a very credible challenge from Stark County Vice Chair Jane Timken.

Borges’ opposition to President-elect Donald Trump for most of the general election has cost the Chairman quite a bit of support. As the sitting Chair, he should have the support of all the statewide elected officials. Worse than that, only three county parties have met and voted on endorsing in this race. All three endorsed Jane Timken. Matt Borges has collected a grand total of four lonely votes between all three county party committees.

Geauga County Chair Nancy McArthur sent out an email detailing the party’s support for Timken, who handily won this contest.

“Jane Timken has served as the Stark County Vice Chairman for the past six years and understands what it takes to win elections. Jane was loyal to President-elect Trump; she raised more than $1M and played a leadership role in a target county for the campaign. Jane has no conflicts of interest and she is committed to serving the GOP—not a specific candidate, officeholder, or lobbying client.

Jane brings fresh ideas on how to finance and grow our Republican Party. She believes the State Central Committee should have a more active role in developing strategic plans for the ORP and the state party should provide more support for local county parties, elected officials, and candidates. Jane knows how to raise money and win elections. She has the support of President-elect Trump and will be the Chair that can unite the party and help us to work together at the local, state, and national levels.”

After some deliberation as to whether or not the Committee should do an endorsement, a motion was made and voted on unanimously by the Committee to vote for either Matt Borges, Jane Timken, or not to endorse.

A paper ballot was taken and the following votes were recorded:

No endorsement: 10
Matt Borges: 4
Jane Timken: 41

Three of the four State Central Committee men and women were present at the meeting — Mary O’Toole, Casey O’Brien, and Scott Kayser. Melissa Pope was not in attendance. After the meeting, Chairman McArthur notified all four of them about the meeting’s results along with the following message: “It is our hope, as our Party Representatives in Columbus, that you will take our endorsement into consideration and vote accordingly for Jane Timken for our Ohio Republican Party Chairman on January 6th.”

The Huron County Republican Party actually unanimously endorsed Timken. The press release cites communication and hostility from Borges during the campaign, but also highlights Timken’s qualifications.

Huron County Republican Party unanimously endorses Jane Murphy Timken for Chair of the Ohio Republican Party

NORWALK – The Huron County Republican Party Executive Committee voted unanimously Thursday to endorse Jane Murphy Timken for Chair of the Ohio Republican Party.

“After speaking with Jane Murphy Timken, it is obvious she is the best choice to unify the State GOP,” Huron County Republican Executive Committee Chair Rob Duncan said after the meeting. “She is committed to working with grassroots Republican efforts and to communicate what is going on at the state level with local county officials. She is the right candidate and the right time.”

A lively discussion with the 13th Senate District State Central Committee members Joyce Houck and David J. Moore centered on current Chair Matt Borges and his lack of communication with local party officials and with his lack of support for Republican President-Elect Donald J. Trump during the campaign season. Many members voiced their displeasure with the actions of Borges and his team during the past several months and believe now is the time to make a change in party leadership.

When contacted by Duncan after the vote, Timken said she was humbled and thankful for the show of support. She reiterated her commitment to local party chapters as they are the first level where elections take place.

Devoted to the Republican Party and to Ohio, Timken currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Stark County Republican Party. She is responsible for fundraising efforts for the Party and candidates, recruiting candidates, volunteer engagement, campaign logistics, ground game operations, election day planning, and implementation of strategy.

Timken is a graduate, cum laude, of Harvard College, where she received the John Harvard Scholarship for Academic Achievement and the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Certificate of Merit. She played for the Radcliffe Rugby Football Club.

She received her J.D, summa cum laude, from The American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., graduating in the top 10% of her class, and serving as a Note & Comment Editor of The Administrative Law Journal of the American University.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jane lives in Stark County, Ohio with her husband W.J. Timken, Jr. (Tim) Chairman, CEO, President of TimkenSteel. She has two children, Henry and Emma. She plays competitive USTA tennis, and enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling.

Williams County also unanimously endorsed Jane Timken. Outgoing Chairman Brian Davis and incoming Chairwoman Patti Rockey sent out an email stating such.

“The Williams County Republican Party voted unanimously to endorse Mrs. Jane Timken for Chairperson of the Ohio Republican Party. We believe it is time for new leadership and vision with a focus on unifying our party.”

The abrasive attitude of Matt Borges has create a serious divide between the state party and the local activists. This is a serious problem for a political party concerned with staying relative. These are the people who knock on doors, who make phone calls and organize events at the local levels. They are the backbone of the party. They proved this election cycle that they could do the heavy lifting without the state party. And now they are looking to toss Borges to the wind and replace him with Timken.

Timken is a very credible candidate as she is a bridge between the finance and grassroots sides of the party. She has the connections to fundraise and as the Stark County GOP Vice Chair, she has the understanding and knowledge that is associated with being involved at the local level.

Bad Week For Borges Continues As Gibbs Endorses Timken For ORP Chair

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges is having a challenging week.

Ohio native Bob Paduchik, who the Ohio Republican Party mocked by creating a crudely named fake Twitter account, was named RNC Co-Chair. Borges had set his ambitions to move to the RNC and his poor calculations against Trump have cost him a promotion in addition to soiling his reputation. He looks incredibly foolish now that Paduchik has a new role at the RNC.

Borges also has a challenger in his quest for another term as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. Stark County GOP Vice Chair Jane Timken has thrown her hat into ring to succeed Borges. And Timken has the backing of one of Ohio’s Congressmen.

Congressman Bob Gibbs sent a letter to State Central Committee Members stating that it’s time for a change in leadership at the Ohio Republican Party.

Bob Gibbs SCC letter

Bob Gibbs SCC letter

I expect that Gibbs is just the first big endorsement for Timken. Others will get behind Timken as they want to work with the Trump Administration. Borges can’t erase the damage he did with not only Trump, but with grassroots Republicans. The best way to heal those wounds and move forward is to replace him.

Stopping America’s Drug Epidemic

This 2016 presidential race was a hard fought campaign. President-elect Donald J. Trump campaigned on a bold and conservative platform of making our cities safe again. After decades of neglect, urban communities across America are in desperate need of repair.

With so many partisan political issues, there remain a select few issues that unite us rather than divide us. America is facing a tragic epidemic of drug-overdose deaths, and both Republicans and Democrats agree that it is time for action.

More than 21 million Americans above the age of 12 have been diagnosed with a substance abuse problem. In 2014, we saw watched 47,000 Americans die from drug overdoses, mostly due to abuse of heroin and other opiates. Ohio had the second-highest number of overdose-related deaths in the nation, with 79 people dying from opioid overdoses every day.

These tragic statistics do not include the many examples of people who hurt others while under the influence of drugs, the spread of diseases from shared needles, or the endless violence that is inherent to the criminal drug trade.

In rural, suburban, and urban neighborhoods across Ohio, too many people suffering from chronic pain become addicted to prescribed drugs and turn to black market alternatives like heroin when obtaining new prescriptions becomes too difficult or costly. Heroin is cheap and available, despite the more than $500 the U.S. spends every second on the war on drugs. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has confirmed that Mexico is the primary supplier of heroin in the United States. These cartel traffickers are taking advantage of the Obama Administration’s failure to secure our Southern border.

And, if that wasn’t bad enough, outrageous federal loopholes currently allow manufacturers from China to shipping fentanyl, a deadly opioid which is stronger and cheaper than heroin, into our communities. Dealing with the opioid epidemic requires a diverse array of treatment strategies and options that must involve our criminal justice, law enforcement, and public health systems. A multifaceted approach is required to address this issue, and it is imperative that we are making the right investments at every turn.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, sponsored by Ohio Senator Rob Portman recently passed with a bi-partisan vote of 92-2. The goal of this law is to shift focus away from fighting the drug war through mass incarceration, and built up America’s treatment capacity. It included, among other things, greater funding for law enforcement and treatment, and increased the patient cap on doctors prescribing buprenorphine, a bridge treatment which reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings that too often drive addicts back to drug dealers.

In Ohio, a drug known as Suboxone is the state’s preferred buprenorphine treatment paid for by Medicaid. But it is far from an ideal medication. Suboxone comes in film strip form and is available in limited dosages, meaning physicians often have to prescribe higher doses than a patient actual needs. As a result, we are seeing patients to sell their excess strips on the black market for more than twice their value. Suboxone strips are also commonly smuggled into prisons and resold to inmates, compounding drug addiction problems in our prisons.

In Columbus, Suboxone smuggling into the Franklin County Jail became such a problem that the facility had to ban all outside deliveries of underwear and socks, which were easily used to conceal film strips. And in Southwest Ohio, officials at the Warren and Lebanon Correctional Institutions report that they are seeing an influx in Suboxone smuggling and abuse in those facilities. Law enforcement in Ohio is already overwhelmed trying to fight the drug epidemic in our communities, and now a purported solution to the opiate epidemic is exacerbating the problem.

Notably, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and 35 other attorneys general have sued the makers of Suboxone. The bipartisan suit argues that an aggressive pricing scheme and monopolistic practices have delayed alternatives to keep prices artificially high. Not only have their actions been a burden on taxpayers, they have prevented other drug manufacturers from offering patients and Medicaid programs more efficient options with tailored dosage levels and larger barriers to diversion into prisons and black markets.

To be clear, ensuring access to MATs is important. When used properly, these treatments save lives. But in Ohio, almost all of Medicaid’s spending on these treatments is paying for Suboxone, when there are other effective options available. Limited taxpayer resources shouldn’t be paying for medications that are ultimately costing the state in other ways.

By adopting a multi-faceted approach to addressing the opioid epidemic—expanding access to treatments, stopping well-intentioned Medicaid policies that are making the drug epidemic worse, and stopping the trafficking of illegal drugs at the border and in our communities—Ohio and America can use these evidence-based policy changes to keep more people alive and stop the opioid crisis.

This Op-Ed was written by Ken Blackwell.